PUEBLO, Colo. – A nine-year-old Colorado girl was being hailed for her quick thinking Sunday after escaping a man who had kidnapped and beaten her.
Calysta Cordova, from Pueblo, Colo., was snatched Thursday as she walked home from school.
However her abductor's truck broke down overnight -- so he took the girl and hitchhiked to a gas station in Colorado Springs Friday morning.
Calysta -- her face bruised and cut -- saw an opportunity, ran into the station's convenience store and told a staff member she wanted to phone her uncle. Instead, she dialed 911.
Onlookers could she see was distressed. Witness Efrin Villapando told KKCO-TV that a man entered the store to find the girl, but she refused to go with him, shouting, "I ain't goin' nowhere. I'm waiting right here for my mama."
Villapando told KMGH-TV that the girl "had two black eyes, bruises on her cheek ... She was in bad shape. The bruise on her face was enormous."
Despite her condition, her defiant outburst caused the man to flee.
Calysta, who was admitted to hospital and reunited with her family, later told ABC News she "got my fight from Daddy," who taught her "to stand up for myself."
Suspect Jose Garcia, 29, is reported to have fled on foot from the gas station. He was arrested at a bus stop several miles away and authorities said they found his car elsewhere at the side of a road with shredded tires. He is accused of abducting and abusing the child.
A relative of Cordova told KMGH-TV that Garcia -- who has a history of past arrests -- was the girl's next-door neighbor.
A police spokesman said, "We have a very, very brave, courageous young lady who did things to save her life, and I'm very, very proud of her."